Many people said about the two short stories I wrote that they had an abrupt ending; I said I had meant it that way. Most stories in real life have abrupt endings, including this. This is most certainly not a love story; it has no heavy dialogues, no drama and very little emotion. The only thing this story has is the truth, it actually happened.
It was the time when I was coming back to Delhi from Kota. It was mild winter and I was wearing our college sweatshirt which I liked to soil in places like trains. I got out and started looking for an Auto, I found one and as always he quoted me an insane price to go to Katwaria Sarai to which I refused. So after a little negotiation he brought down the price but said then you will share the auto, I said fine as I had just one small bag and no qualms to travel with someone else as long as I have to pay less.
After waiting for 5 – 10 minutes the Autowallah brought two people, a girl my age heavily wrapped in a cap, muffler, sweater, gloves and what not and a boy slightly younger which I assumed to be her boy friend or something. As usual I kept quiet during the travel and was looking in my cellphone the whole time, there was something wrong with it, it was saying 'Memory full. Close some applications'. The girl was giving some instructions to the boy, I thought of her being the bossy type in the relationship.
The boy got down some time before the AIIMS flyover, got some more dosage on instructions and said "theek hai didi" in the end. So the boy wasn't her boy friend I thought, then I got back to fiddling with my phone. When I was about to reach the girls suddenly asked me which year I am in. I said 'huh', she repeated the question. I said second, she said oh ok. Then we stopped talking. I thought we are going towards IIT so she would have assumed I am a student, but then I wondered how she could digest that I was a second year B.Tech student; I certainly didn't look that young. Then she said I am in the first year, I'm in IIFT. Then I added two plus two in my head that she was an IIFT student which was very near to my college IMI so that's why she could recognize the IMI logo on my sweatshirt and hence she asked which year I was in. Otherwise no way in hell somebody could recognize our college logo, people right in Katwaria Sarai didn't know which college IMI was. We chit chatted for a few minutes then it was time for me to get down, she asked me to take down her number and said maybe we could get together some time. Unfortunately my phone was conked and hence it was not possible to store any numbers. I gave her my number said bye and got down. Went back to my routine and didn't think about it much. She never called or messaged either.
Then it was few days later I was coming out of Katwaria Sarai when I saw her drinking espresso at a small store, she was with her friends, I went over and said hi, I again chit chatted for a minute when her and my friends started giving us weird looks, when parting she asked if my phone is ok now, I replied in the affirmative so she asked me to take her number and make some plans to get together in the near future. I said ok and took leave.
The next day she asked me if I wanted to have lunch, I didn't have any class so I said ok. She asked me to meet her outside her college. I was walking towards IIFT when she called and asked me to wait on the way, she said she was coming towards me as all her friends were there and she'll get teased if they saw her with me. I said ok, she came in a few minutes and asked if we could go someplace nearby as she has a class in two hours. So I suggested we could go to this place called 'Secular house canteen' which was 10 mins walking from here, was cheap and had good food. While having lunch she told me she had a class of one of our faculties only, Prof. Deepak Chawla and they were terrified of him. He had caught one guy reading the newspaper in class and insulted and ridiculed him very badly. I laughed saying that we used to watch movies in his class and played games on his laptop, we had seen scarier professors. She told me she was Indore and done engineering from there only and then had worked for a software company in Pune for a year, then she came here. I told a little about myself. I was eating slowly as usual when she said we should hurry as she had a class in half an hour and wanted to be minimum 5 minutes before time of the class. So we hurried off from there, I walked her to her college, said bye and we agreed to meet again soon.
It was after a week or so when she called me again to go out for lunch. She said this time we had a little more time and could go someplace a little far away, I being a 'lakeer ka fakeer' as always suggested to go to Saket, we could stroll there for some time and could eat somewhere there only. She agreed. We took an auto to Saket and strolled around for some time when she said she had something to tell me, I asked what but she said she'll say when we sit down. We went to Subway when she told me that she had given CAT again this year and got a good percentile, she had calls from all IIMs except IIMB. I asked but IIFT is a good college why does she want to change. She said it is ok but IIMs are better, she will only change if she gets A or C, plus she said she has some problems staying here, so she wants to move. I asked what but she didn't elaborate.
On the way back we both were feeling a bit weird, to make harmless conversation I asked her that we have met the 4th time now and I even don't know her last name, she said it is 'Behl'. Then she asked me I said 'Chauhan', "My full name is Anirudh Singh Chauhan". She said "Oh you are a Rajput" with a tone of sadness and derision. I said yes, and asked what's wrong. She hesitated for a second and said her experiences with Rajputs till now have been bad. I again asked why , so she continued in pained voice, she told me that her boyfriend in engineering college was also a Rajput, they went around for four years and had planned to marry as soon as get out of college. But that never happened; he ditched her and married someone else, and she spent a hellish year in Pune trying to get over that. So she decided to focus on career then, got through IIFT and came here. She looked up and I saw she was trying to fight back the tears. No one spoke after that, we went up to her college, she got in and I walked back to my house. I couldn't stop thinking about this for many days.
She never called or received my call after that. Neither did she reply to any of my messages. I just saw her once when she was walking to her college carrying some packets, I offered to help but she refused and said she was in a hurry. I never saw her again. After a few months her number was disconnected too.
P.S – I generally don't talk about this incident or write about these things on my blog. May be today I am having a momentary lapse of reason.